Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Taenarum 2.0, Game Report 2.0

Our second game session started back in town again, with the party seated around a dimly lit table in the Adventurer's Guild Hall planning their next foray into Taenarum.  By making this campaign extremely episodic and supporting drop in play, we're getting back all of the regulars from past campaigns. They know it's not an every-week commitment, just show up and play when you can.  We'll have 1-2 more folks dropping in next week, too.

This week's new player brought along Stompy the Angry Dwarf, an axe-and-board style defensive fighter.  Here's the cast of characters this week:

Modred:  Dragonborn Bard, L1
Etor:  Spartan Fighter, L1
Gati:  Halfling Rogue, L1
Aldrian:  Wood Elf Druid, L1
Stompy the Angry Dwarf:  Dwarf Fighter, L1

The players had a few leads from last week's game session - they knew about the distraught wife who wanted someone to rescue her husband from a dungeon dryad, and they had killed the bandit captain who was marauding the dungeon entrance.  Nonetheless, they wanted to poke around town at the beginning of the session to see what else they could learn before heading into the dungeon.

This week's carousing brought them into contact with Lamachus the Lusty, a dangerous mage and erstwhile leader of the Nefarious Nine - one of the groups way up The Scoreboard.  Lamachus was at the town's "dive bar", the Moxie Nymph, sweet talking some ladies, when a few players tried to ply him with drinks and learn some insider knowledge about Taenarum.  They did pick up a few interesting nuggets:

  • There's a marketplace for the dark dwellers called the Hagagora
  • The Nefarious Nine use it as a launch pad for deeper delves
  • Look up Lamachus at Pig Skins, a cantina at Hagagora run by "the drunken satyr"
  • Keep your eyes open for dungeons of green flame
  • The minions of Hades frequently guard the best treasures in dungeons with green flame
  • If you find a stone box with the face of Hades on it, there'll be a wondrous object inside

Once the carousing was over, the players headed back to the dungeon.  They resumed exploration near the bandit's camp in the entrance dungeon, discovering a handful of strange things - a giant stone head, a mural that showed the way to a Medusa temple, and lots of silly dungeon graffiti because I am a goofball.  One of the players added his own graffiti:  These aren't the droids druids you're looking for…

They also discovered how to get past a secret door puzzle that blocked egress to the Shrine of the Fates -  featuring a giant statue of the Moirai - Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos.  Before them lay the bronze-bound Book of Blessings and Curses, a chance for players to consult the fates for a divination (in other words, one of those beloved old school random things).  Etor was cursed with a night of bad luck, Gatti became lucky, Aldrian gained some wealth, and Modred was possessed by a vengeful ghost that made him consult the book against his will (via a missed saving throw) and then flitted off to her final reward.  Modred gained valuable experience in the exchange.  Only Stompy the Angry Dwarf managed to avoid the whole scene.

Out on the main road to the Underworld, the players found another dungeon a little deeper down the road, with a floral theme and the sound of tinkling feminine laughter from within - they were convinced this would lead to the dryads lair.  Inside was a mushroom filled cavern where they fought a quartet of giant poisonous snakes, and then up a large flight of stairs was the room of Summer and Winter - a domed affair depicting the constellations, celestial bodies, and a mechanism attached to a giant statue of Persephone.  Players being what they are, they tinkered with the mechanisms to learn that they could advance the setting of the heavens to different seasons.  They blasted themselves with death during winter and restored their drained life force by putting the room to summer.  (They should have seen that one coming).

This was a night when the bard and rogue couldn't do anything wrong.  At one point, wandering monsters approached, a patrol of skeletal hoplites.  The Dragonborn jumped in front of the patrol and blasted them with Thunderwave, causing a massive amount of damage.  The jumbled bones and rolling skulls of a half dozen skeletons were blasted down the hall.  Even I was a little impressed.

At another time, a trio of Duergar came to enslave the party, and he breathed all over them and roared in intimidation, killing an injured Duergar and convincing the survivors to seek softer prey.  I'm not saying he's OP, but bards in 5E are awesome, Dragonborn are cool, and yeah, I suppose the combo pretty good.  Meanwhile, the rogue profited from an unintentional exploit:  he was gifted by the Fates to have advantage for the remainder of the night (representing a night of extreme luck).  Rogues get to add their sneak attack to every attack when they have advantage, meaning it was a night of every-round sneak attack damage.  His lucky night I guess.

The players had a good time, and two sessions in, they're ready to move up to level 2… because, you know, 5th edition does it that way.  I'll post the completed first dungeon in a day or so you guys can follow along at home.